Sunday, June 5, 2011
All-time Seattle Mariners starting nine
In the past week in my Seattle Sports Blog group there has been debates on the NBA all-time team, all-time centers and point guards. Well I figured since we are in the middle of baseball season to do a three part series on the all-time Seattle Mariners team. In this edition I'll focus on the starting nine which includes the DH. I have a few rules which includes what you did as a Seattle Mariner is the only thing that counts so you won't see Rickey Henderson on my list. Another rule I have is you have to have played that position when you racked up your statistics so you won't see me move a center fielder or a right fielder to left field. I also won't be moving Alex Rodriguez to third base either. I also tried to keep emotion out of this which means some fan favorites won't make my starting nine. However, in my third edition I'll go over the bench hitters and bullpen so maybe a few guys that I've snubbed will pop up on the bench. Well like I did with my Seattle Mariners season preview I'll post them in the batting order I'd have if I was the manager.
1. Ichiro- Right Field:
Career statistics as a Mariner: .322/.366/.418. Has 2,533 hits, 99 HR's, 1,176 runs, 633 RBI's, 438 SB's
Career achievements: 2001 MVP, 2001 ROY, 10 time all-star, 10 time gold glove winner, Three-time silver slugger award, Two-time batting champion, All-Star game MVP(2007), all-time hits leader in a single season:2004-262 hits
Best Season: MVP season of 2001: .350/.381/.457. Had 242 hits, 8 HR's, 127 runs, 69 RBI's, 56 SB's
I know if this was a popularity contest some might put Jay Buhner. No disrespect to Buhner but Ichiro is clearly the greatest right fielder in Mariners history. Ichiro as you can see in the career achievements has accomplished quite a bit. He is the franchise's second ever MVP award ever and has never missed an all-star game. He has yet to not win a gold glove although that streak looks likely to end this year. Ichiro is slumping this year which players do but hope that doesn't tarnsih the greatness he achieved as a Seattle Mariner. Take sentimental stuff out of it he is clearly the second greatest Mariner of all-time. That is why Ichiro is my right fielder and will lead off my lineup which is murders row my first four hitters.
2. Alex Rodriguez- Shortstop:
Career statistics with Mariners: .309/.374/.561. Had 966 hits, 189 HR's, 627 runs, 595 RBI's, 133 SB's
Career achievements: Four-Time All-Star, Four-Time Silver Slugger award, batting champion, hit for the cycle in 1997, hit 40/40 in 1998: 42 HR's/46 SB's, second in MVP in 1996, third in MVP in 2000
Best Season: 1996 where he was runner up in closest MVP vote ever. .358/.414/.631. Had 215 hits, 36 HR's, 141 runs, 123 RBI's, 15 SB's
Like I said with Ichiro you can't have a realistic list and leave off Alex Rodriguez. For the Mariners Rodriguez finished second in the MVP race in 1996 and third in 2000. I recently wrote a piece defending Rodriguez so I won't get into that again. Now I decided to bat Rodriguez second in my lineup because as a Mariner he mainly hit second in the lineup. Early in his career he was a terrific hitter who rarely struck out, had good power, and had good speed. Plus as I was going through my all-time team the Mariners didn't really have a number two hitter which is why I went with Rodriguez. For the Mariners Rodriguez achieved great things for the team and so far a pitcher would have a tough first inning facing Ichiro then Rodriguez. The guy I have next would really make life difficult for him.
3. Ken Griffey Jr.- Center Field:
Career statistics as a Mariner: .292/.374/.553. Had 1,843 hits, 417 HR's, 1,113 runs, 1,216 RBI's, 167 SB's
Career achievements as a Mariner: 1997 MVP, fifth in MVP in 1993, second in MVP in 1994, fourth in MVP in 1996, fourth in MVP in 1998, 10-time all-star, 10-time gold glove winner, Seven-time Silver Slugger award, led league in HR's four times, All-Star Game MVP(1992), Three time Home Run Derby Champion(1994,1998,1999)
Best Season: Clearly his 1997 MVP year. .304/.382/.646. Had 185 hits, 56 HR's, 125 runs, 147 RBI's, 15 SB's
This was my easiest pick to make and putting him third in the batting order was a guarantee as well. If you have a problem with Ken Griffey Jr being on this list then just stop talking please. Ken Griffey Jr. is the greatest Seattle Mariner of all-time and will be the first Mariner to wear a Seattle Mariners logo on his hat in the baseball Hall of Fame. Griffey was the best player in the 1990's and was the Mariners first star they ever had. He wasn't some northwest star no he was a national star and the most popular player in all of baseball in the 1990's as he lived on Nike commercials. As you can see with Griffey's numbers, achievements and especially his 1997 season was just simply jaw dropping. Could you imagine facing this lineup so far having to face two MVP's and a combined three batting titles in the first three hitters? So far this lineup could chase some pitchers out of the game pretty quickly. The next guy in my lineup would be a tough out as well.
4. Edgar Martinez- DH:
Career statistics: .312/.418/.515. Had 2,247 hits, 309 HR's, 1,219 runs, 1,261 RBI's, 49 SB's
Career achievements: Seven-time All-Star, Five-time Silver Slugger award, Two-Time Batting Champion, Third in MVP in 1995
Best Season: It was 1995 when Martinez saved baseball in Seattle and finished third in the MVP race. .356/.479/.628. Had 182 hits, 29 HR's, 121 runs, 113 RBI's, 4 SB's
You know how I said Griffey was my easiest choice well Edgar Martinez was just as easy. Hitting Martinez cleanup was a pretty easy decision as well. Martinez was a great hitter having won two batting crowns and as he showed in the 1995 playoffs and later on against the Chicago WhiteSox in the 2000 ALDS he had a feel for the dramatic hit. Martinez always hit cleanup behind Griffey or Rodriguez from 1995-2000 which made life difficult on pitchers. Whenever they would choose to walk the guy in front of him Martinez would make them pay. Martinez if not for injuries could have really racked up some numbers. For a team that doesn't have much history in my first four hitters I have two MVPs and a combined five batting crowns. The Mariners are still trying to replace Martinez as they have yet to find a suitable DH since his retirement back in 2004.
5. Brett Boone- Second Base:
Career statistics as a Mariner: .277/.336/.478. Had 863 hits, 143 HR's, 467 runs, 535 RBI's, 50 SB's
Career achievements as a Mariner: Two-time All-Star, Three-time Gold Glove winner, Two-time Silver Slugger award, Third in MVP in 2001
Best season: That was in 2001 when he finished third in the MVP. Hit .331/.372./.578. Had 206 hits, 37 HR's, 118 runs, 141 RBI's, 5 SB's
As a Seattle Mariner you couldn't get much more production from a second baseman than Brett Boone. Boone in his second stint with the Mariners was pretty awesome winning three gold gloves in four seasons while almost winning an MVP in the other season(2001). Now some people who are sentimental might want to put Harold Reynolds in here but Boone was a power hitter. Boone brought the glove too like I said and probably should have won the MVP over Ichiro in 2001. I put Boone fifth because as a Mariner he would have been a great fifth hitter. This lineup is pretty stacked in the first five hitters. Now there is a steroids cloud hanging over Boone's head but I'm not holding that against him. What he did was a Mariner at the second base position you probably won't see ever again.
6. Alvin Davis- First Base:
Career statistics as a Mariner: .281/.381/.453. Had 1,163 hits, 160 HR's, 563 runs, 667 RBI's, 7 SB's
Career achievements: 1984 ROY(first in franchise history), One time All-Star
Best Season 1984: .284/.391/.497 . Had 161 hits, 27 HR's, 80 runs, 116 RBI's, 5 SB's
For me this was my toughest decision as I barely put Alvin Davis in over John Olerud. Ultimately I had to put "Mr.Mariner" on my all-time team and he also is my only player on the list who played before the Mariners became a playoff contender. Davis was the first real solid player the Mariners had when he won the rookie of the year in 1984 for the club. Hard to judge how good Davis could have been on a good team. As you saw his rookie year his on base percentage was close to .400. In fact he has the second highest on base percentage as a Mariner on this list. He simply didn't get many pitches to hit as he was on some weak linups. The fact he put up the numbers he did without get a ton of pitches to hit shows how good of a ball player he was.
7. Raul Ibanez- LF:
Career Statistics as a Mariner: .284/.346/.464 . Had 967 hits, 127 HR's, 486 Runs, 547 RBI's, 21 SB's
Best season as a Mariner: In 2006 he hit .289/.353/.516 . Had 181 hits, 33 HR's, 103 runs, 123 RBI's, 2 SB's
First of all Left Field hasn't been a very kind position to the Mariners franchise. I kept my word and didn't move Jay Buhner or Mike Cameron to left field because they didn't play left field. I didn't put Rickey Henderson or Ken Griffey Sr. there because as Mariners they didn't accomplish what Ibanez did. For Ibanez his first stint with the team was as a fourth outfielder who can hit right handed pitching. After the Mariners got rid of him they signed him for 2004 when he was a pretty productive bat for the Mariners. In his second stint his average never dropped below .280 and he drove in over 100 runs his final three seasons in Seattle. If Ibanez is your seventh hitter then you have a pretty good lineup I'd say.
8. Adrian Beltre- Third Base:
Career statistics as a Mariner: .266/.317/.442. Had 751 hits, 103 HR's, 372 runs, 396 RBI's, 49 SB's
Career achievements as a Mariner: Two-Time Gold Glove winner, hit for the cycle in 2008
Best Season as a Mariner: In 2007 he hit .276/.319/.482 . Had 164 hits, 26 HR's, 87 runs, 99 RBI's, 14 SB's
Like Left Field there wasn't many candidates to have at this position. I could have put Edgar Martinez but then I'd be forced to have someone like Jose Vidro at DH(gross). I could have had Jim Presley but other than one season his time in Seattle was pretty bad. The biggest myth facing Seattle sports is that the Adrian Beltre signing was a bust. Sure Beltre never lived up to that one season for the Dodgers but when Beltre was healthy he gave the Mariners some power. He also gave the Mariners the best defense they have ever seen at third base. I'd take Beltre's worst season in Seattle over what they currently have. I think when you check sabermetric statistics out it would show Beltre earned his money exactly. Beltre wasn't a bust and is the Mariners best all around third baseman they've ever had.
9. Dan Wilson- Catcher:
Career statistics as a Mariner: .262/.309/.384. Had 1,071 hits, 88 HR's, 433 runs, 508 RBI's, 23 SB's
Career achievements as a Mariner: 1996 All-Star
Best season as a Mariner: 1996 season he hit .285/.330/.444. Had 140 hits, 18 HR's, 51 runs, 83 RBI's, One Stolen Base
For me this was another easy decision to pick Dan Wilson as the catcher and pencil him into the 9th hitter. Wilson played 12 seasons in Seattle and was part of four playoff teams. In his 12 seasons the Mariners had a winning record in seven of them. Wilson was known for calling a good game and he was great at stopping the ball. Then in 1996 and 1997 Wilson displayed some power for the catcher position hitting 33 home runs during that two year stretch. With Wilson in the ninth spot back then he would roll over nicely to the top of the lineup as he had a decent batting average in his prime years.
In conclusion, this was my all-time starting nine for the Seattle Mariners. For a new franchise this hitting lineup is pretty good especially at the top of the order where it is stacked. For tomorrow I'll do one on the five man starting rotation then on Tuesday do the bench/bullpen. I hope this starting nine makes people appreciate what we've had the opportunity to witness. While I also hope this gets people discussing the Mariners once again. I'm sure some people will disagree with who I put in here or even my lineup. Feel free to share your team either on here or in my group. I feel as if a starting pitcher would be lucky to get through five innings against this starting lineup. The current ballclub could use a couple of these guys as well.